This blog post will discuss the Systems Thinking Approach To Implementing Kanban (STATIK). STATIK is a powerful tool that can help you improve your workflow and get more done in less time for complex systems. We will cover the following topics: sources of dissatisfaction, analyzing demand, analyzing current delivery modeling, modeling service delivery workflows, identifying and defining classes of service, and designing the Kanban system.


Kanban is a tool that can aid us in visualizing and optimizing workflows. It was developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, in the 1950s. A Kanban system is based on just-in-time (JIT) production principles. This manufacturing philosophy strives to eliminate waste and improve quality by producing – what is needed when it is required. Kanban systems have been successfully used in manufacturing settings for many years, and more recently, it has been adapted for use in software development and other knowledge work industries.

There are three main principles of Kanban: visualization, limiting work in progress (WIP), and continuous improvement. Visualization means creating a physical or digital representation of your workflow. It helps you to see the flow of work through our system and identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Limiting WIP means setting limits on the number of items in each workflow stage at any given time. These key concepts help prevent overload and ensure that work progresses on time. Continuous improvement means regularly reviewing your workflow and making systems change by identifying the leverage points to improve efficiency and quality.

The STATIK approach is based on the following management disciplines.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is a way of thinking that views systems as complex entities made up of interrelated parts. It is a holistic systems approach that considers the relationships between all the elements in a system rather than just looking at individual components in isolation. Systems thinking has its roots in systems science, developed in the 1940s and 50s by academics such as Ludwig von Bertalanffy and Ross Ashby. Systems thinking has experienced a comeback in popularity recently because of its capacity to analyze and resolve challenging problems.

Peter Senge’s description of “systems thinking” as The Fifth Discipline (1990) boosted the strategy. Systems thinking, according to Senge, is “a discipline for seeing the big picture.” It provides a framework for viewing relationships rather than individual objects and observing patterns of change instead of parts of a system.

There are various System thinking tools but not limited to the following, that help us to see the system as a whole and understand the underlying structures and how it works.

Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints tools helps us to identify and manage system constraints.

Lean Thinking

Lean tools help us identify and eliminate waste in our system to improve quality and efficiency.

Queuing Theory

Queuing theory tools help us to understand and optimize system performance by analyzing queue behavior.

Statistical Process Control

SPC tools help us to monitor system performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

So how do you use systems thinking?

Let’s take a look at an example.

You’ve been asked to implement a Kanban system for your team. You start by visualization of your workflow and mapping out the process steps. You then decide to limit WIP by setting a limit of 3 items per person per stage. To help ensure that work is progressed through the system on time, you introduce a daily stand-up meeting where the team is self-organizing and reviewing the status of work in progress. Finally, you establish a system of continuous improvement by regularly checking your workflow and making system changes when necessary.

The systems thinking approach has helped you to implement Kanban successfully by taking into account the relationships between all the elements from the systems perspective.

Complex adaptive systems (CAS)

We live in a complex world with complex problems, and we find CAS in nature, ecosystems, and social systems, such as families, organizations, and economies. Systems are made of many interdependent parts, and where the system’s behavior emerges from the interactions between these parts. Understanding complex adaptive systems are essential for STATIK because Kanban is a tool that can use to manage and improve complex workflows.

Mental models

The mental model approach is a way of thinking that views systems as complex entities of interrelated parts. It is a holistic approach that considers the relationships between all the elements in a system rather than just looking at individual components in isolation. This approach can be helpful when implementing Kanban, as it can help you to understand the system as a whole and identify the interrelationships between its parts. In addition, mental models can help you to determine the potential impact of changes on the system as a whole and plan accordingly.

System Dynamics Approach

System Dynamics is a computer-aided approach to planning and decision-making.

The fundamental objective is to assist individuals in making wiser judgments when faced with intricate, dynamic systems. The methodology offers tools and methods for modeling and analyzing dynamic systems. Key findings from models can be communicated to help everyone comprehend the system’s behavior.

It involves simulation modeling that supports systems thinking methodologies and is based on feedback systems theory. It can address dynamic issues in intricate social, managerial, economic, or ecological systems by creating feedback loops.

What is STATIK

The STATIK approach combines Kanban with systems thinking principles to create a powerful tool for implementing Kanban in complex workflows. STATIK was developed by David J. Anderson, a leading expert on Kanban and author of the book “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Business.”

STATIK is an acronym that stands for Systems Thinking Approach To Implementing Kanban. STATIK is a methodology that helps you improve your workflow by understanding the sources of dissatisfaction, analyzing the origin and nature of demand, analyzing current delivery capability, modeling the service delivery workflow, identifying and defining classes of service, and designing the Kanban system.

It uses causal loop diagrams to map out the relationships between all the elements in a system. It helps to identify any bottlenecks or areas of waste in the system so that they are addressed. It is considered one of the essential tools for system thinkers for problem-solving.

The Benefits of STATIK

Using STATIK, you can make changes that will improve your process and complete your kanban system more efficiently.

STATIK is a valuable tool that can help a service delivery organization enhance its workflow and get more done in less time. STATIK is beneficial because it helps to optimize workflows by understanding various sources of dissatisfaction within a process. It also allows for better analysis to manage it more effectively. In addition, STATIK provides a way to model service delivery on orders to identify bottlenecks and make necessary changes. Finally, STATIK can be used to design Kanban systems helps to improve efficiency and productivity.

For systems modeling, STATIK is a great place to start if you want to improve your workflow. Using the STATIK approach, you can make interventions that will positively impact your organization. Give STATIK a try today! You won’t be disappointed.

Applying STATIK Process to your Kanban System

Let’s look at how STATIK applies in a real-world scenario. We’ll use the example of a team working on a software development project. Stakeholders are experiencing some difficulties with their current process, and they want to see if Kanban can help them to improve their workflow using technical and soft skills.

The STATIK process consists of six steps:

Step One: Understand sources of dissatisfaction

In improving the kanban system, it is essential first to understand the sources of dissatisfaction. What are the pain points in your current process? What are the areas that could improve? Once you have identified the sources of dissatisfaction, you can begin to address them. And don’t forget to define customer satisfaction as well.

Step Two: Analyze the source and nature of demand

The next step is to analyze the source and nature of demand. What is causing the need? Is it internal or external? How often does the condition occur? By understanding the origin and nature of the request, you can begin to manage it more effectively. It could include looking into artifacts such as the team’s technical backlog.

Step Three: Analyze current delivery capability

After you have analyzed the source and nature of demand, the next step is to analyze your current delivery capability. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve your process? By understanding your current delivery capability, you can begin making changes to improve your workflow. It may include looking into key performance indicators and service level agreements with your customers.

Step Four: Model the service delivery workflow

The fourth step is to model the service delivery workflow. What are the steps in your process? How can you optimize each step within your process? By modeling the service delivery workflow, you can identify bottlenecks and make changes to improve your process and increase customer satisfaction.

Step Five: Identify and define classes of service

The fifth step is to identify and define classes of service. What are the different types of work that you do? How can you prioritize each kind of work? You can begin implementing a Kanban system to help you manage your job more effectively by identifying and defining service and service level agreements and classes.

Step Six: Design the Kanban system

The final step is to design the Kanban system. What are the Kanban boards that you will use? How will you implement Kanban? By creating the Kanban system, you can improve your workflow and get more done in less time.


In conclusion, STATIK is a powerful tool that can help you improve your workflow. The system is everything that surrounds and affects team members, managers, and stakeholders. To lead effectively, all the parts of the system must work together. This includes both what they can see and what they can’t.

Kanban is an evolutionary lean management technique that emphasizes the need for teamwork in achieving lasting change.

At its foundation, Kanban empowers teams by exposing inefficiencies and bringing processes into the open. The way each team uses Kanban is unique. They have the power to run it and the duty to make improvements. Teams can identify process issues they must work collaboratively to fix using kanban boards. They know that when one team member succeeds, the entire team grows, and when one member fails, the whole team fails. This way of thinking enhances the team’s ownership of their Kanban method.

Our Kanban consultants have helped organizations we work with improve productivity by making changes to their processes that have positively impacted their bottom line. If you want to understand how we can help you increase the value delivery, please feel free to reach out to us.

How has STATIK helped you improve your Kanban system? Let us know.  And for more information on how to become a successful Kanban Systems Designer, discover classes for Kanban Training

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